31 Days of Horror 2019: Heroes & Villains Returns To Vader’s Castle

It’s FINALLY October which means…spooky comics! (insert thunderclap, pipe organ flourish and Vincent Price laughter here)

One of my very first horror comics was DC’s The Witching Hour, if I recall correctly, and it was given to me by my grandmother who had obtained it from a church rummage sale. It was from 1974 and at the time was the oldest comic I had in my collection. It was probably the late 80’s or early 90’s when I got it and it was so amazingly foreign to me as I paged through it. 

It also happened to be pretty scary! I hadn’t yet begun to seek out indie comics and Vertigo was still a few years off at that time so my comics consumption at that point was largely superheroes. It’s safe to say that this comic set me on a path to seek out more of this genre, so…thanks Grandma.

StarWarsAdv_RtVadersCastle1_RIBStar Wars Adventures: Return To Vader’s Castle
Cavan Scott (W)
Francesco Francavilla (A)
Megan Levens (A)

Arguably, one of the coolest things to spin out of  Rogue One was the (official) addition of Vader’s castle on Mustafar to the Star Wars canon…and it was only on screen for a handful of seconds! Still, that was enough to spawn a whole story arc in Marvel’s Darth Vader comic about its construction and TWO miniseries from IDW. One of the many things I love about Star Wars is that literally, nothing goes unused.

Return To Vader’s Castle is a horror anthology from IDW’s Star Wars Adventures series of books. The Adventures series of books are great all-ages titles designed to be picked up and enjoyed by fans of all ages. Admittedly, it’s not part of my normal Star Wars reading list (there’s just SO much content these days) but I appreciate that it’s out there and if they’re all like Vader’s Castle I may have to add another title to my pull list.

Normally you wouldn’t think that Star Wars and horror would work well together but it’s not much of a jump to meld the worlds of space fantasy and terror together. One of my earliest Star Wars memories was being absolutely terrified of Darth Vader during the CBS network television premiere (February 26th, 1984 for those keeping score at home). The trash compactor monster (I know its name, I’m just not about to look up the spelling) and the Wampa were worse than any monster under the bed I could have dreamed up. The Emperor was also straight-up nightmare fuel as a kid since there was no real way to distinguish him from one of your great grandparents. 

Like any good horror anthology, Vader’s Castle is hosted/narrated by Vader’s attendant Vaneé, depicted here as Crypt Keeper like figure telling tales to an unseen audience. The book is heavy on atmosphere and perfect for the season. Even better, we’re getting one of these each Wednesday in October all the way up until the 30th! Future issues will incorporate fan favourites such as Grand Moff Tarkin, Jabba the Hutt, and Darth Vader himself. I can easily see picking this up each week and incorporating it into my seasonal activities. 

Spider-Man Not Too Far From Home

Late last week the news broke that Marvel and Sony had reached a deal to allow Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to remain part of the MCU. Grown men cried, Marvel and Sony agreed they both like making LOTS of money and exactly no one was surprised. 

From a fan perspective, I was relieved that for the time being Marvel gets to have a guiding hand in their flagship character. After three mediocre Sony movies, the Marvel produced pictures of the last few years have been refreshing and, at a purely base level I haven’t gotten over the novelty of seeing Spidey with all of the other Marvel heroes. Crossovers will always be cool.

The Arrowverse Crisis Party

Speaking of cool crossovers! The CW’s DC shows are gearing up production for the multi-episode Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover event that’s coming later this year. Each subsequent announcement is so cool that I have to keep moving the goalposts of my expectations since almost everyone ever involved in a DC show is coming back to reprise their roles in some way, shape, or form. For the record, my expectations are now that they will announce the casting of the actors from the 1997 Justice League of America TV movie.

Some promotional shots of Brandon Routh as Kingdom Come Superman have been released causing hype-meters all over the internet to explode. I would not be surprised to see a change.org petition calling for Routh to be reinstated as the DCEU’s Superman appear any day now. 

In fact, I may go start one right now.

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